Thursday, July 12, 2012

Seared Tuna & Spinach Pasta

Seared Tuna & Spinach Pasta... With lots of fresh ingredients on hand and a trip out of town planned for the next few days, I couldn't help but feel anxious about creating a meal that would use up all of the perishables in my fridge. First thought, make a sauce. I knew tonight would include some sort of seared tuna, but the sides were a creation on the fly. Here's what I had in the fridge and knew that I wanted to use:

  • A bunch of baby heirloom tomatoes
  • Half a bag of fresh spinach
  • Garlic
  • Green Olive Tapenade
  • 3 baby red/yellow/orange bell peppers
  • One yellow onion
  • Shaved Parmesan
  • Asparagus

On the Menu:
Seared Tuna, whole wheat fusili with a homemade spinach tomato sauce, and roasted asparagus.

The Tuna:
Marinated for 10 minutes in olive oil, lemon and pepper. Seared on the grill pan. Done.

The Spinach Tomato Sauce:
In a large sauce pan I sauteed chopped onion and garlic in plenty of oil over high/medium heat with a bit of salt, pepper, and crushed dried oregano. Once that had a nice glaze going, I added some diced baby bell peppers. After those had sauteed together for a bit I added one large spoonful of green olive tapenade. Once that was all nicely mixed I threw in the baby heirlooms. The large ones got a rough chop and the little ones went in whole (I ended up letting them get nice and hot and squished them open in the pan so that their warm tangy insides added a good bit of liquid to my sauce). Next went a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sugar. I really wanted to use some white wine in the sauce but sadly didn't have any on hand - but if you've got it, use it! The pinch of sugar helped to cut the acidity of the lemon and the olive tapenade, just a pinch though! I let that Dahlicious conglomerate marinate together for 45 minutes or so on low heat. Just before serving I brought the heat back up a bit, added the bag of fresh spinach and let it wilt into the sauce. Lastly I tossed in freshly cooked whole wheat fusilli and a sprinkle of the shaved parmesean. SOOO GOOD!! Tip: Let the pasta rest a few minutes and allow it to cool just a bit, this will greatly enhance the flavor, as opposed to eating it scorching hot.

Sautéing onions, garlic, & peppers
Adding the tomatoes
Letting the juices lightly simmer
Wilting the spinach into the sauce
Adding the pasta & parm

Roasted Asparagus:
Chop off the woody ends, spread them evenly across the bottom of a pyrex baking dish or even a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on 400 degrees for 20 minutes. More or less time depending on how thick they are.

I was very happy to make such a hearty yet fresh meal on this beautiful Chicago summer evening, and most of all I was happy to be able to use so many things in my fridge that would have had to be thrown out otherwise! 

Hope everyone's Thursday night dinner was Dahlish as well!

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